Wednesday, August 31, 2011

fee's LIST (through 9/6)

* "NY Export: Opus Jazz" (dirs. Henry Joost and Jody Lee Lipes, 2010) + "The Family Jams" (dir. Kevin Barker, 2010) screenings @ reRun Theatre / 147 Front St, DUMBO (F to York St, AC to High St), 7p/$7 (w/ directors in attendance!). Even the seasoned live-music goer like myself has to step back sometimes and rethink. Such is the case w/ Devendra Banhart, Vetiver and (particularly) Joanna Newsom, subjects of Barker's freak-folk documentary "The Family Jams". I was like: this is too weird, too hippie-fied for me. But I was utterly charmed by the doc and, after catching a few Newsom shows, a full-out convert. They're doing something very special, here. Plus "Opus Jazz", an adaptation of Jerome Robbins' "ballet in sneakers" plus a SXSW Audience Award winner.

* "Ong-Bak" (dir. Prachya Pinkaew, 2003) screening @ BAM / 30 Lafayette Ave, Ft Greene (23/45 to Nevins St, AC to Lafayette), 9:30p. THE film that made young may Thai artist Tony Jaa an action legend. A caffeinated detective heist from country-fried NE Thailand to neon-drenched Bangkok, w/ illegal boxing matches, the mob and lots and lots of cocaine. And despite Jaa's dabbling with directing and monasticism and relative lack of screen-time (but check that golden cameo as a "supermarket fighter" in "The Bodyguard"), he'll be forever revered for this Thai action classic.

* "Do the Right Thing" (dir. Spike Lee, 1989) screening @ MoMA / 11 W 53rd St (E/M to 53rd/5th Ave, 6 to 51st St), 7p. Lee's controversial classic unblinkingly epitomizes racial tension in Brooklyn's Bed-Stuy neighborhood (and the greater area), between young Black residents and older Italian locals. Feat. an all-star ensemble cast, incl. early roles for Rosie Perez (as Lee's girlfriend!) and Martin Lawrence, plus the nonpareil Samule L. Jackson as DJ Señor Love Daddy! Take a chill, cool out, and check it out.

* Cao Fei "Shadow Life" @ Arthouse / 700 Congress. Cao last showed this enchanting three-narrative video work at Lombard-Freid, her NY gallery in May. The almost "Blade Runner"-slick futuristic urbanism permeating her recent works — particularly "RMB City" and its relation to her "Second Life" foundation — is stripped away, though via her adaptation of traditional shadow puppetry she maintains her unmistakably contemporary take on China today.
+ Koki Tanaka "Buckets and Balls". I'm stoked for the LA-based artist's debut here, and particularly his oddly absorbing, slightly nerve-wracking method-based video containing the titular two elements (plus the odd chair, ladder etc).

* Totimoshi (LA) + Pygmy Shrews (NYC) @ Scoot Inn / 1308 E 4th St, 9p/$8. Longtime Cali trio Totimoshi thread angular punk and throaty metal into their propulsive alt-rock arrangements. The Shrews complement w/ full-throttle garage rock, all the better to leave you sweaty and aching for a stage-dive.

* highered-girl @ O-Nest / 6F 2-3 Maruyama-cho, Shibuya-ku (JR Yamanote Line etc to Shibuya Station, Hachiko Exit), 6:30p/2300 yen. I love boy-girl punk…whether they're a couple (anyone remember Mommy & Daddy?) or not (The Kills), if they rock hard, that's all that matters. Case in point w/ highered-girl, via guitar-maimer Shizuya and drummer Hitomi, whose shouty coed vocals are like bourbon in a flesh wound. w/ neonrocks and height

* Lorna Williams "brown baby" @ DODGEgallery / 15 Rivington St. Williams' NY debut is an autobiographical affair, as she imbues her assembled sculptures and collages with materials from her childhood and daily life.
+ "This is Then". Nicole Cherubini, Darren Blackstone Foote, Gudmundur Thoroddsen and Johannes Vanderbeek create works that embody relics and the past in varying extents. I'm already a big fan of Foote's carved and oddly organic sculpture (he represented the gallery at VOLTA NY 2010) and am particularly intrigued by Cherubini's use of ceramics.

* "L'Avventura" (dir. Michelangelo Antonioni, 1960) screening @ MoMA / 11 W 53rd St (E/M to 53rd/5th Ave, 6 to 51st St), 4p. The first installment of Antonioni's loose quartet of petite bourgeoise isolation, set on an enchanting deserted island and centered around the sudden disappearance of one of the young women. Seduction and betrayal follow, as Antonioni's discreet lens lovingly focuses on breakdowns of trust and communication. Plus, the first appearance of his frequent muse Monica Vitti!

* "Modern Love is Automatic" (dir. Zach Clark, 2009) + "Vacation!" (dir. Zach Clark, 2010) screenings screenings @ reRun Theatre / 147 Front St, DUMBO (F to York St, AC to High St), 7p/$7. A double-header of subversion from the indie director, promoting discomfiting dark comedy and deadpan arousal over blatant sexiness. The former involves a bored nurse by day and dominatrix by night; the latter four college girls on an existential beach bash.

* "Wild Beasts" @ Champion Contemporary / 800 Brazos St. Paintings: BOOM. Five contemporary artists of the painterly persuasion, incl. four NY-area champs — Ryan Schneider, Daniel Heidkamp, Joshua Abelow and Ezra Johnson (contributing animations) — plus Atlanta's Shara Hughes, inject challenging color combinations and pointed observational renderings into our understandings of what's hot art now.

* Koji Tanada "springing up boy" @ Mizuma Art Gallery / 2F 3-13 Ichigayatamachi, Shinjuku-ku (Yurakucho/Nanboku Lines to Ichigaya Station). Six new creepy-ass sculptures carved from blocks of camphor wood and painted.

* Kaori Kurosaki "Something to See" @ INAX Gallery / 2F 3-6-18 Kyobashi, Chuo-ku (JR Yamanote Line to Yurakucho Station). Massive oil pastel landscapes embedded with smaller rectangular landscapes for trompe-l'oeil effect. This is her debut solo show.

* Oh my God, you've gone @ Koiwa BushBash / 7-28-11 Minami-koiwa, Edogawa-ku (JR Yamanote Line to Koiwa Station), 7p/1300 yen. OMGYG, this young, Sonic Youth-ish trio w/ an incredibly cool name, have quickly become a LIST favorite, so lucky for us they play lots of live shows. w/ Karuki and bahAMaba

* "The Red Desert" (dir. Michelangelo Antonioni, 1964) screenings @ BAM / 30 Lafayette Ave, Ft Greene (23/45 to Nevins St, AC to Lafayette). For me "The Red Desert" epitomizes Antonioni's oeuvre. It's his first full-color film — refurbished in a lovely new print — and the tense silences, the subtle camerawork, the screeching soundtrack and the ever-ephemeral Monica Vitti (that hair!) all apex here. Set in the northern Italian industrial hell Ravenna, which might as well be a near-future dystopia as it barely resembles ANYTHING of other Italian Modernists' settings during this time. Highly recommended! THRU 9/11

* "Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame" (dir. Tsui Hark, 2011) @ Angelika NY / 18 W Houston St (BDFM to Broadway/Lafayette). The legendary director's return to form, straight off its debut at the NYAFF this past July. Think "Sherlock Holmes" with Hong Kong-style action, pulpy entertainment just how you love it.

* "Love Exposure" (dir. Sion Sono, 2008) @ Cinema Village / 22 E 12th St (NR/L/456 to Union Square). Sono's magnum opus on Catholic guilt, religious cults, upstart photography and sexual deviance! Yes it's four hours long, but the palimpsest-like plot unfolds in a flurry of sharp editing and well-timed titillation and violence. Note the first appearance of the film's title, slamming in after riding a wave of Maurice Ravel's "Bolero": this occurs a cool hour into the film. It'll feel like an instant.

* "Aliens" (dir. Ridley Scott, 1986) midnight screening @ IFC Center / 323 Sixth Ave (ACE/BDFM to W 4th St), midnight. Scott's first xenomorph film set the tone: Sigourney Weaver as Ripley, badass alien, bonkers space jockey set, nasty chestburster etc. Cool. 57 film-years later, we've got Ripley returning to the alien's hostile planet, with a little girl in tow, swimming aliens on the loose and a pissed off Queen. It's gonna be a brawl. ALSO SAT-SUN

* "Rashomon" (dir. Akira Kurosawa, 1950) screening @ MoMA / 11 W 53rd St (E/M to 53rd/5th Ave, 6 to 51st St), 7p. One of this epic director's most famous films and the watermark for a memorable detective story: a multiple-POV scenario set in 12th-C Kyoto, and feat. Machiko Kyo (the conflicted noblewoman) and Toshiro Mifune (the wildin' thug) at perhaps their most iconic roles.

* Bonnie Jones + Maria Chavez @ The Stone / 16 Ave C (F to 2nd Ave), 8p/$10. An electroacoustic duet, w/ Jones utilizing mics and electronics whilst Chavez works her signature treated turntables.

* Xray Eyeballs @ Death By Audio / 49 S 2nd St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 8p/$7. I can only hope that angular-toned Brooklyn art-punks Xray Eyeballs' new 7" "Sundae" (just over two minutes of jangly perfection) means they'll be headed down south for some shows. w/ San Fran noisy garage-rockers Royal Baths

* "Point Blank" (dir. Fred Cavayé, 2011) @ Violet Crown Cinema / 434 W 2nd St. Gruff and good guy Samuel gets framed for murder, his (pregnant) wife (Elena Anaya, hello!!!!) kidnapped, and he's got to play the mob against the police to get her back safely. Bears absolutely no relation to the '98 DTV film sharing its name and starring Mickey Rourke.

* "Apollo 18" (dir. Gonzalo López-Gallego, 2011) @ Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar / 1120 S Lamar. Gotta admit this is a unique entry to the growing "found footage" genre: shown almost entirely from the POV of American astronauts on a manned mission to the Moon that, according to my go-to Wikipedia, never happened… only there's a legacy of myth that THREE other Apollo missions continued to specific coordinates of the Moon's dark side after the official Apollo 17. This is the first, and supposedly we'll see why they returned — and why no one's been back since.

* "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" (dir. Edgar Wright, 2010) late show @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E 6th St, 11:45p. An arcade-style rom-com riot like "Scott Pilgrim" deserves to be seen on the silver screen. Where you can lap up the glittery Wii-styled fight-scenes b/w Michael Cera and scream-queen Mary Elizabeth Winstead's League of Evil Exes (plus the adorable awkwardness b/w Scott and cutie Knives Chau). ALSO SAT

* Hard Proof + Los Skarnales @ Mohawk / 912 Red River, 8p. Austin's long-running Afrobeat collective Hard Proof plus Houston's ska-punk stalwarts Los Skarnales! I've been into Los Skarnales since high school, man! Let the horns lead the way to this party.

* Scorpion Child @ Hole in the Wall; / 2538 Guadalupe St, 10p/$5. Early '70s southern psych-rock from Austin heavies Scorpion Child, like their wall-melting scorcher "Fuga de Petroleo". w/ The Red 100's

* Masumi Nakaoka "Towards Gentle Ovals" @ Art Front Gallery / Hillside Terrace A, 29-18 Sarugakucho, Shibuya-ku (JR Lines etc to Shibuya). The young Kyoto-born artist creates dreamy landscapes from planes of diluted acrylic paint and crushed cashews, melding the disparate media with a careful process-driven style.

* CHARLTON @ Shimokitazawa Shelter / B1F 2-6-10 Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku (Keio Inokashira Line to Shimo-kitazawa Station), 6:30p/2300 yen. If you told me this coed electro-pop trio CHARLTON hailed from Bushwick, Brooklyn (as opposed to Tokyo), I'd totally believe you. Check that crunchy pulse and barked lyrics powering track "Insider" (off their demo) and see what I mean. w/ the sweaty pop-punk trio the 8flag, Tokyo via Hokkaido

* "The Three Colors Trilogy" (dir. Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1993-4) screenings @ Walter Reade Theatre / Lincoln Center at 65th St (1 to 66th St), beginning at noon. Film Society of Lincoln Center hosts a mini-fest of famous trilogies (notably absent: "RoboCop"), and my top pick is the celebrated Polish director Kieslowski's final trilogy, based off the colors of the French flag and, loosely, on the three political ideals of the French Republic. And I suggest you see 'em back-to-back, 4.5 hours of awesomeness, each w/ potent women as leads: Juliette Binoche in melancholic "Blue", Julie Delpy in black comedy "White" and Irene Jacob in the moving "Red", Kieslowski's final film.

* Weekend + Talk Normal + Grooms @ Glasslands / 289 Kent Ave, Williamburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 8:30p/$12. A lovely agreement b/w the West Coast (Weekend) and the East (locals Talk Normal), via 1) noise and 2) rhythm. The former sear those eardrums w/ hypnotic shoegaze whilst the latter blast out the best contemporary of No Wave I've heard yet. Throw in sludgy-lovely Grooms and you've got a party.

* Paul Moncus & William Hundley "Spread" @ Big Medium / 5305 Bolm Rd #12. A collaborative installation between mixed media wizard Hundley (maybe you caught his inventive photocollage at the "Identity Crisis" group show at Grayduck Gallery?) and Austin-based Moncus' freeform style.

* Eum Haeran + Daichi Tsuji @ Unseal Contemporary / 1-3-18 Nihombashi-horidomecho, Chuo-ku (Ginza/Hanzoemon Lines to Mitsukoshimae Station, Hibiya Line to Kodenmacho Station). Eum approaches uncertain memories via disparate objects strewn like mementos throughout her dreamlike canvases. Tsuji fragments fantastical renderings of youth and nature in combination.

* Yuichi Yokoyama @ Nanzuka Underground / Shirokane Art Complex 2F, 3-1-15 Shirokane, Minato-ku (Namboku/Mita subway lines to Shirokane-Takanawa Station). An exhibition of Yokoyama's paintings created during his open studio residency at Nanzuka Agenda Shibuya this past autumn and winter, plus older illustrations from a serial manga "Color Engineering".

* Tokuro Sakamoto "Intersection" @ Gallery MOMO Ryogoku / 1F 1-7-15 Kamezawa, Sumida-ku (Toei Oedo/JR Sobu Line to Ryogoku Station). The Yamanashi-born artist uses spare acrylic paint on hemp in his compositions of familiar, tranquil landscapes.

* "A3DII Ayumi Hamasaki Rock 'n Roll Circus Tour FINAL 7days Special" (from her Yoyogi Stadium concert in October 2010) @ Shinjuku WALD9 / 3-1-26 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku (JR etc to Shinjuku Station, South Exit). Define pop idol. In a landscape like Japan where "pop" and "idol" can mean many different things, the presence of a figure who 1) sings very well (and writes her own lyrics) 2) appears in slick PVs, CMs, films, fashion branding (bonus if she's got her own line of merchandise) and 3) puts out dozens of #1 singles a year, each of which earns millions of yen and devoted followers… that figure embodies the notion of a megastar, and that undoubtedly is Ayu. I have incredibly been "into" her since early on, i.e. her second LP "LOVEppears" (way back in '99, though I'd heard about her the year before via some random English language pop mag), thoroughly entranced by early singles "Poker Face" (always the original, in my opinion), "Monochrome" and "Love: Destiny". As stuff happens and we mature, I lost the thread for awhile and only just realize she got married, this past January, to a model from her PV "Virgin Road"! That has little to do w/ the subject of this incredible live film, 3D live footage from last year's blockbuster arena tour, which is the closest many of us will come to seeing Ayu "live".

* 「監督失格」/"Director Disqualification" (dir. Katsuyuki Hirano, 2011) @ TOHO Cinemas Roppongi / Roppongi Hills Complex 6-10-2 Roppongi, MInato-ku (Toei Oedo/Hibiya Lines to Roppongi Station). Hirano's an AV filmmaking king, making his mark in the early '90s and eventually directing the biker romance trilogy "Encyclopedia of a Drifter". It was, I believe, during one of these bike trips that he fell in with Yumika Hayashi, a prolific younger AV starlet. Hayashi's sudden death at age 35 left Hirano and the whole industry reeling, and her legacy produced documentaries like Tetsuaki Matsue's "Annyong Yukima" (which premiered stateside at the 2010 NYAFF!) — and now it's Hirano's turn. He crafted this film around interviews with Hayashi's mother, friends, with archival footage of the star and his own grief and guilt in dealing with the loss of his former lover.

* 「君の好きなうた」/"Your Song" (dir. Kenji Shibayama, 2011) @ Eurospace / 3F 1-5 Maruyama-cho, Shibuya-ku (JR etc to Shibuya Station, Hachiko Exit). The young director's debut feature follows the growing friendship and tentative romance between a young Tokyo guy and a girl ending her own wedding engagement and moving back to Kobe. It's a sweet-looking film with a necessarily strong soundtrack, built around Tokyo indie-rock quartet seagulloop, folk chanteuse TAMAR and Chiharu Tamaki.

* TADZIO + HALBACH @ Womb / 2-16 Maruyama-cho, Shibuya-ku (JR Lines etc to Shibuya Station, Hachiko Exit), 5p/3500 yen. Skronk-rock awesomeness in this stacked "Bomba Womb Live" lineup, headlined by atonal punk duo TADZIO and ensemble HALBACH. w/ Okinawan duo 385 (lit. "Sanhachigo"), LOVEBUYLOVE and more

* AISHA @ Microcosmos / 2F Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku (JR Lines etc to Shibuya Station, Hachiko Exit), 11p/2500 yen ("ladies free"). The venue's "Ice Breaker: Bottoms Up" hip-hop party just got way funkier via young blood cutie AISHA — she's got her dad to thank for a solid old-school R&B backbone, plus the looks and vox to get the room grooving. w/ duo CREAM (Minami & Staxx T)

* Lines @ Shibuya Cyclone / 12-16 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku (JR Line etc to Shibuya Station, Hachiko exit), 6:30/2000 yen. Big fan of this punchy post-rock quartet Lines — they temper poppy arrangements and synth lines with shards of guitar noise.

* Department-H @ Kinema Club / 1-1-14 Negishi, Taito-ku (JR Yamanote to Uguisudani Station), midnight/5000 yen (3000 yen w/ dress-code). I love the name of this station, which translates to "Valley of Japanese Bush Warblers" — these little spring harbingers — plus its vicinity to a bunch of love hotels. That it's hosting a pretty major all-night fetish party, replete w/ booth dancers, shibari masters, the Madeline Agency, uh anime cosplay and more elaborate stuff, well that adds a new spin on it, doesn't it?

* Hedgehog (China!) @ Bruar Falls / 245 Grand St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, G to Metropolitan), 8p/$6. Hold the phone: this punkish Beijing trio Hedgehog just dropped back in town, nearly a cool year (by my calculations) after wowing Brooklynites at 2010 CMJ. Do NOT underestimate them — particularly petite drummer Atom — in their keen ability to rock your face off. w/ Sleepies

* Weekend + Talk Normal @ Mercury Lounge / 217 E Houston (F to 2nd Ave), 7:30p/$12. See my SAT entry for effusive props to Weekend and Talk Normal. Grooms don't join 'em here, but the early-ish show is still total quality, and totally sonically rippin'.

* "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka" (dir. Keenen Ivory Wayans, 1988) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E 6th St, 7p. Wayans' directorial debut is a potent blaxploitation spoof, feat. ineffable actors from the genre (Isaac Hayes! Jim Brown! Bernie Casey!) plus a young Chris Rock in this caper against an illegal gold chain trade. I'll forever dig him for his later "'hood film" parody "Don't Be a Menace…", but he had to start somewhere.

* Boris w/ MONO @ Shibuya O-east / 2F 2-14-8 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku (JR etc to Shibuya Station, Hachiko Exit), 4p/4000 yen. Whose fallacy was it to place premiere decibel-shattering drone-rockers Boris (alongside the heavily ethereal MONO) on the second floor, as they're liable to literally bring the house down under layers and layers of guitar noise and pummeling rhythm? In this "leave them all behind" showcase, it really doesn't matter. They're gonna be loud, and we'll love them all the more for it. w/ envy (which is how I feel since I cannot make the show!…)

* Limited Express (has gone?) @ Three / B1 5-18-1 Daizawa, Setagaya-ku (Keio Inokashira Line to Shimokitazawa Station), 6:30p/2500 yen. I love Limited Express (has gone?) — they're the closest I've experienced to a Tzadik-ready Japanese Siouxie and the Banshees, if that makes any sense. w/ CONVEX LEVEL

* "Kidnapped" (dir. Miguel Angel Vivas, 2010) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E 6th St. Proceed w/ caution. Vivas portrays a chilling, brutal break-in on an upper-class Spanish family using just 12 lengthy, reeling takes over about 90 punishing minutes of film. I suggest you not take ANYTHING for granted until the screen cuts to black. Then you can breathe again.

* "Autoerotic" (dirs. Adam Wingard and Joe Swanberg, 2011) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar / 1120 S. Lamar, 10p. Sex and horniness are funny things, and these two directors (Fantastic Fest 2010 alum Wingard, late of "A Horrible Way to Die", and indie everyman Swanberg) take us through four vignettes and the more awkward and obsessive angles of gettin' it on. ALSO TUE

* "Kill Your TV 2011" showcase @ Fever / 1-1-14 Hanegi, Setagaya-ku (Odakyu Inokashira Line to Shindaita or Shimokitazawa Stations), 6:30p/FREE. Going out in Tokyo is expensive, if you haven't realized that by now. That this awesomely titled live showcase is free, plus stocked w/ dope bands w/in a great venue, makes it extra-special. My adoration for skronky noise-rock cuties TADZIO should be apparent to any devoted LIST reader, and inclusion of GEKITETSU (lit. "firing chamber", like for a handgun) means the boys will be rocking hard, too. w/ Kaisoku Tokyo (lit. "high-speed/express Tokyo"), four former art-school speed-rockers

* BRAIDS @ Mercury Lounge / 217 E Houston (F to 2nd Ave), 7p/$12. I like the slightly dissonant tension brooding in this Montreal post-rock group, emanating as much from an oddly strummed guitar-line as from Raphaelle Standell-Preston's enigmatic vocals. She takes the stage twice tonight, earlier on as one-half the dreamier duo Blue Hawaii. w/ Painted Palms

* "Deranged" (dirs. Alan Ormsby & Jeff Gillen, 1974) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E 6th St, 9:30p. This is a sick-ass film! But imagine how I saw it, as a grindhouse-worthy double-feature on Netflix, alongside Bob Clark's "Motel Hell". That's three solid hours of hillbilly cannibalistic mania right there. But this "Geinsploitation" feature, sporting early Tom Savini gore and historically accurate perversity, really leaves you feeling disgusting by the end. See it on the big screen!

* "Days of Being Wild" (dir. Wong Kar-wai, 1990) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar / 1120 S Lamar. A veritable Who's Who of now-classic Hong Kong talent (feat. Leslie Cheung, Maggie Cheung, Carina Lau, Andy Lau — and Tony Leung Chiu Wai in cameo), plus Wong's first collab w/ dreamy cinematography Christopher Doyle. And while hist best films would follow, beginning w/ "Chungking Express" in '94, Wong was already making his art-house (and still very sexy) mark on Hong Kong cinema.

* Cy Twombly "Sculpture" @ MoMA / 11 W 53rd St (E/M to 5th Ave/53rd, 6 to 51st St). This past March, the museum procured two of postwar iconoclast Cy Twombly's classic "freestyle" paintings and seven sculptures spanning his career. That MoMA then mounted an installation of these acquisitions barely a month before Twombly's death this July is an incredible coincidence, plus an auspicious opportunity to view this lesser-known body of work up close. His mural-sized lyrical abstracts, filled with fluidic "graffiti" or exuberant peony bursts, contrast strongly with these muted assemblages, comprised of found materials and scrap wood. Yet these humble objects, intimately scaled and cloaked in white paint, have been an integral facet of Twombly's oeuvre since the mid-50s. Viewing them in concert with his larger, louder paintings provides a fuller understanding of this modern master.

* Francis Alÿs "A Story of Deception" @ MoMA PS1 / 22-25 Jackson Ave, Long Island City (E/M to Court Square/23rd St, 7 to 45th Rd/Courthouse Sq). I found that PS1's open-ended layout, with "The Modern Procession" unofficial centerpiece, worked far better in my Alÿs-going experience, as opposed to the MoMA portion that closed a few weeks ago. That two-channel video itself, at just 12 minutes long, is a quickie in Alÿs terms, plus its clear start and conclusion and overall narrative — the parade carrying MoMA collection replicas (Picassos "Demoiselles D'Avignon, Giacometti's "Standing Woman", Duchamp's "Readymade") and the real Kiki Smith from 53rd St to Long Island City — make it far more accessible than Alÿs' broader oeuvre. Let the Peruvian fanfare guide you to it — it's one place where I particularly liked the sound carry-over. No videos here rival "The Modern Procession", though "Guards" (2004-5) provides a few unnerving minutes, if you're keen on that. Royal guards clomp about deserted London streets, like straight out of "28 Weeks Later" but much cleaner, their clipped movements linking in succession as they meet their peers. More paintings scattered about, like "Le juice errant" (2011), a fully-conceived version of the character bowing to the weight of buildings strapped to their back (seen in drawings at MoMA) and "Untitled (from Deja Vu)" 2011, a "diptych" on separate walls, a woman carrying a scythe vs a man carrying a hammer. The former appeared on the NYTimes Weekend Arts section, blown up to larger-than-lifesize scale (Alÿs' paintings, this one included, are all like 8x10" or smaller). One brilliantly confusing duplication too, of "Untitled (La Malinche)" (2010), two carved wood figures breaking out of a plastic bag. This work appears twice in the show, in opposite galleries, and its twin is a cheekily disorienting sendoff to the Conceptualist's retrospective.

* "Candy Cornbread" @ Grayduck Gallery / 608 W Monroe Dr. The rub here, in this group exhibition of six local artists, is the collaboration with East Austin screenprinting lab Red Bluff Studios, co-run by two of the participating guys, Jaime Cervantes and Satch Grimley. They executed a bunch of snappy, visually pleasing screenprints with the advising of the show's more "traditional" artists — painters Jeffrey Swanson and Mike Parsons, for example — displaying them in concert w/ their respective mediums. I tried to focus solely on "traditional" my first rotation, eschewing prints in an effort to see what the artists are "really like". Grimley was probably the most contrasted and delightfully surprising: he uses logos and litter from around his East Austin neighborhood in these collaged, resin-y reliefs. His screenprints came off like sloganeering (Ronald MacDonald in violet leaping in front of massive MMs and AHs), whereas his abstract collage works felt way more textural and complex. Swanson seemed to have a lot of fun, displaying whimsically animalike figurative paintings on wood panels, mixing color washes and hard ink lines and placing them around the wood's natural grain to vivid effect.

* Summer Show 2011 @ Lora Reynolds Gallery / 360 Neches #50. This deceptively simply titled group show belies the explosive creativity contained w/in. In fact, Reynolds' array of talent — Cordy Ryman's brutally physical relief works; Noriko Ambe's meticulous cut-paper; Tony Feher's delightfully subversive (and glittery!) assemblage; Ewan Gibbs bracing pencil renderings (Armory Show 2009 artist) — reminds me of my favorite "outside-the-white-box" Chelsea galleries. Don't miss this one.

* "One, Another" @ The FLAG Art Foundation / 545 W 25th St, 9th Fl. Stephanie Roach curated this mixed disciplines show that delves into narcissism, sexuality and identity, feat. Diana Al-Hadid, Robert Gober, Swoon, Louise Bourgeois and more.
+ Roni Horn "Double Mobius", 10th Fl. A selection from Horn's sculpture (a relative rarity, especially in the gold medium), photography and works on paper, complementing the downstairs group exhibition. (ENDS WED)

* "Collections" @ Span Art Gallery / 2-2-18 1F Ginza, Chuo-ku. (Yurakucho Line to Ginza-Itchome Station). A selection of the gallery's roster and trends to come in the next season of exhibitions. Feat. Eikoh Hosoe, Suehiro Maruo, Hiroshi Nakamura, Toshio Saeki and more. (ENDS SAT)

* "About Face: Portraiture as Subject" @ Blanton Museum of Art / UT Austin campus, MLK at Congress. With a few exceptions, the museum drew from its own collection to focus on the timeless portrait composition, from true old-school masters (a tiny but thrilling Rembrandt etching and a Diego Rivera lithograph) to snazzier modern entries (Andy Warhol, by definition, Chuck Close, also by definition) and contemporary examples (Kehinde Wiley in particular, and Jim Torok, ahead of his exhibition at Lora Reynolds Gallery). Though the collection misses Mickalene Thomas, IMO a leading artist in today's formal sit-down figure painting, it's a beautiful gathering nonetheless and inspiring to those drained on neo-assemblage and too-busy art.

* Mika Ninagawa @ BLD Gallery / 2-4-9 Ginza, Chuo-ku (JR Yurakucho Station, Marunouchi Line to Ginza Station). The unpublished results of a globetrotting collaboration between actor Osamu Mukai and the photographer, based on over 10 years worth of images from her "mook" photo-book series in NEO. (ENDS SUN)

* "The Austin Series: Part Three" @ Gallery Black Lagoon / 4301A Guadalupe St. This was just what I needed for further immersion in the local art scene: a group show of over a dozen multidisciplinary Austin artists. Feat. manipulated photography by Suzanne Koett (her "Sabbat" series), paintings by Debbie Carroll and Valérie M. Horne, mixed media works by Akaimi Davis Green and Danny Phillips, and a helluva lot more. (ENDS MON)

* Tomomi Kazumoto + Nekonoko "Nekomo!" @ Niji Gallery / 2-2-10 Kichijoji-honcho, Musashino-shi (JR Line to Kichijoji Station). A collaborative exhibition b/w Kazumoto and the artist nicknamed "Kitten", featuring cute but slightly twisted drawings and characters. (ENDS TUES)